Tokyo inaugurates National Stadium ahead of 2020 Olympics

Robie de Guzman   •   December 16, 2019   •   646

View of the new National Stadium following its completion in Tokyo, Japan, 15 December 2019. EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Tokyo – The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

With its 68,000-seat capacity and design details that highlight Japan’s taste for nature, the stadium was inaugurated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe three months after construction started.

It cost around $1.44 billion to build, slightly under budget. The original proposal for the new stadium was rejected for being too expensive.

Abe said the venue would “leave its mark on history.” The opening ceremony was also attended by the architect behind the project, Kengo Kuma.

It was built on the ground where the old Olympic stadium, used in the 1964 Games, once stood. The National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as athletics competitions.

On a press tour, representatives of the team responsible for building the venue said they had used the natural world as inspiration for its design.

The seats are painted in five different colors spread around at random and represent an impressionist depiction of a forest.

The roof is fastened with steel beams but also incorporates wood from across the country, giving the stadium a more traditional feel.

The cross beams on the ceiling and the uncovered central circle give spectators the feeling they are in a nest.

Tens of thousands of trees are being planted in the space around the stadium.

As part of their environmental commitments, organizers will maintain the pitch with recycled rainwater.

The construction of the National Stadium was delayed after the original project, an extravagant design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, was scrapped for being too costly.

Kuma took over the project. He is known for designing the Nagasaki Museum of Art.

The stadium will host the final of the Emperor’s Cup on 1 January. EFE-EPA

ag/jt The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

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Coronavirus turns Japan business mood negative for first time in 7 years

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in seven years in the three months to March, the central bank’s “tankan” survey showed on Wednesday (April 1), as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy closer to recession.

Non-manufacturers’ sentiment also worsened to levels not seen in seven years as travel bans, event cancellations and social distancing policies hurt consumption, clouding an already darkening outlook for the economy. The data underscores the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in stopping the pandemic wiping out the benefits his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have brought to the economy.

The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment worsened to minus 8 in March from zero in December, the survey showed, compared with a median market forecast of minus 10. It was the first time in seven years the big manufacturers’ index turned negative.

The pandemic has hit an economy that had already suffered the fastest contraction in 5-1/2 years in the December quarter due to last year’s sales tax hike and the U.S.-China trade war. (Reuters)

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief not considering changing plans for Games

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori said on Wednesday (March 11) his team was not considering changing plans for the Games and that the board member who had suggested a delay because of the coronavirus had apologised.

Earlier, a member of the organizing committee’s executive board told Reuters that a delay of one or two years would be the “most feasible” option if the Olympics could not be held this summer.

“At the moment, we are not thinking about changing plans or postponing the Games,” Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged media briefing.

He also added that some venues wouldn’t necessarily be available for use if the Olympics were delayed, as per Haruyuki Takahashi’s, one of more than two dozen members of the Tokyo 2020 executive board, earlier suggestion.

Mori added that he left hospital on Wednesday to make the announcement but the 82-year-old former Japanese Prime Minister did not say why he had been hospitalised.

Organisers have been pushing a consistent message that the Games would not be cancelled or postponed but sponsors who have pumped in billions of dollars have grown increasingly nervous about how the coronavirus outbreak will impact the event.

Experts say a one-year postponement to the same time next year would pose major logistical problems but was doable for broadcasters because it fits into their generally open summer schedule.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 116,000 people and killed more than 4,000 around the world since it surfaced in China late last year. (Reuters)

(Production: Jack Tarrant, Shiori Ozawa)

Japan says North Korea’s missile launch a threat to Japan and the region

UNTV News   •   March 9, 2020

Japan’s main government spokesperson said the latest projectile launch by North Korea “threatens the peace and security of Japan and the region” on Monday (March 9).

Speaking at a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, said the multiple projectiles appeared to be ballistic missiles and landed outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan.

North Korea launched multiple short-range projectiles into the sea on Monday as part of ongoing firing drills, a week after it resumed missile tests following a three-month break, South Korea’s military said.

Suga added that Pyongyang’s repeated ballistic missile launches are a “serious issue for the international community”.

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

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